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President Clinton, NIST Announce Baldrige Award Winners for 2000

President Clinton and Commerce Secretary Norman Mineta announced in late November that two manufacturers, a water treatment company and a bank were winners of the 2000 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award for performance excellence and quality achievement.

The winners are Dana Corp.-Spicer Driveshaft Division, Toledo, OH,and KARLEE Co. Inc., Garland, TX, in the manufacturing category; Operations Management International Inc. Greenwood, CO, in service; and Los Alamos National Bank, Los Alamos, NM, in the small business category.

This marks the first time a water treatment company or bank has received a Baldrige Award.

MBNQA 4c gold logo The Baldrige program is managed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, an agency of the Department of Commerce. ASQ provides administrative service for the Baldrige.

Additional information about the winners will appear in the February issue of QP.


JCAHO Launches Health Care Quality Public Accountability Initiatives

The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) has launched a series of public accountability initiatives to ensure availability of information about the quality of care provided to individuals in accredited health care organizations.

One of the initiatives, Quality Check, is a comprehensive Web guide to information about the quality of health care organizations, including current accreditation status, performance reports, performance level in key areas, areas needing improvement and how the organization compares to others nationally. The Web site is at www.jcaho.org

Another initiative is publication of consumer brochures, which are available on the Web site or by calling 630-792-5800.

JCAHO also maintains a complaint hot line and an Office of Quality Monitoring, which analyzes the input received and monitors the performance of accredited organizations through public information interviews prior to each accreditation survey.


Hospital Patient Safety Reporting System Developed

The National Association of Inpatient Physicians (NAIP), an organization representing hospitalists, and DoctorQuality, a provider of health care quality products, recently announced a joint initiative to improve patient safety through a Web based analytical and error reporting system.

According to the organizations, the systems will enable hospital based physicians to track and anonymously report patient incidents online. Data will be used to understand trends in medical errors and hospital quality and to identify solutions.

For additional information, visit www.naiponline.org or www.doctorquality.com


Software Tool Designed To Improve Clinical Performance

The Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR) has funded development of CONQUEST, a quality improvement software tool that uses a common structure and language to help users identify, understand, compare, evaluate and select measures to assess and improve clinical performance.

The software has two databases--one for clinical performance measures and one for conditions.

Quality of care is measured through a combination of characteristics of the health care provider and services (procedures) that result in better patient outcomes. Clinical performance measurement examples include the percentage of diabetics who receive yearly eye or foot examinations and the percentage of patients with pneumonia who receive a correct antibiotic within an appropriate timeframe.

The database contains 1,197 clinical performance measures and information on 57 common or costly clinical conditions affecting the general population. Sources of 53 sets of performance measures were developed by many public and private organizations, such as the American Group Practice Association, Department of Veterans Affairs, Health Care Financing Administration, Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, National Committee for Quality Assurance, RAND and United Health Care.

CONQUEST and its user guide can be downloaded online at www.ahrq.gov/qual/conquest.htm. Diskettes and the user guide are available by calling 800-358-9295 and asking for AHCPR Pub. No. 97-DP01 and No. 97-R001.


Accreditation Bodies Sign International Lab Accreditation Agreement

Under an agreement signed by 36 laboratory accreditation bodies from 28 economies worldwide, a product tested by a laboratory accredited by a signatory in one country will be accepted and promoted by all the other signatories in their countries.

The agreement was signed at a meeting of the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) and becomes effective this Jan. 31. According to ILAC, it will promote the acceptance of technical test and calibration data for exported goods and is a major step toward reducing or eliminating the need for retesting products when they arrive in an importing country.

The ILAC arrangement applies to the 36 signatory members that participate in ILAC and represent accreditation bodies from the following economies: Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, People's Republic of China, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong (China), India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Chinese Taipei, United Kingdom, United States and Vietnam.

A cornerstone of the new arrangement is the utilization of existing or developing regional arrangements established in the Americas, the Asia-Pacific region, Europe and Southern Africa.

ILAC says another important step that is already underway involves government acceptance of the results from accredited laboratories. According to Jeffrey Horlick, a physicist with the NVLAP program, such a practice already exists in Australia and New Zealand, where regulatory agencies accept results from laboratories accredited by the National Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program (NVLAP).

"The next crucial step is for governments to take advantage of this arrangement by using it to further develop or enhance trade agreements," said Mike Peet, CEO of the South African National Accreditation system and chair of the ILAC committee that developed the arrangement.

For further information about the ILAC arrangement, visit www.ilac.org


NIST Offers Registrar Listing, Baldrige Video for Small Business

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) says its semiannually updated listing of the 96 North American registrars of quality and environmental management systems is now available over the Internet. The 80-page directory identifies registrars that serve particular industries.

In addition, NIST has created a 16-minute video, "Take the Journey! A Baldrige Invitation to American Small Business," which demonstrates the value of Baldrige performance excellence criteria and the competition process for the Baldrige Award in improving performance and the bottom line.

The video includes interviews with top executives of several small business Baldrige Award winners. Available in either VHS or CD formats, the video is free by calling 301-975-2036 or e-mailing nqp@nist.gov

The December issue of THE INFORMED OUTLOOK includes detailed results of a survey of ISO 9001/2/3 registrars indicating that they are ready to offer ISO 9001:2000 registration assessments and updates but are not pushing their clients to move quickely to transition their quality management systems to the revised standard. The monthly newsletter, co-published by ASQ, provides timely articles on major quality management standards. For additional information, visit www.asq.org/pub/

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As a national partner in the Baldrige in Education Initiative (BiE IN), the National Alliance of Business recently published How the Business Community Can Improve School Leadership. The booklet focuses on successful practices nationwide in which business leaders are assisting principals in instilling continuous improvement in schools. Additional information on BiE IN or the publication can be obtained by calling Haley Stein at 202-289-2833 or steinh@nab.com

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The Wall Street Journal reported that Boeing was adding 370 jobs to its inspection system because of 107 specific problems at seven Washington state and Oregon facilities ("FAA's Audit Faults Procedures at Boeing," Oct. 31, p. A7). The jet maker's problems included "inadequate" inspections and work instructions, shortcomings in inspection of parts from certain suppliers and lack of awareness of design procedures among assembly workers. None of the problems were said to threaten passenger safety.

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Six Sigma Consultants Inc. (SSC) has selected Micrografx Inc. as its exclusive provider of process management and improvement software. Micrografx's iGrafx Process for Six Sigma will be integrated into SCC's Six Sigma consulting and training programs.

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Goldstone Ltd. in the United Kingdom says it has introduced Goldstone Standard GS 2001/2002 as a rival to ISO 9001 and ISO 9002. Goldstone says the standard is easy to understand and apply, is based on easy-to-follow processes rather than a multitude of procedures and that users can use the Internet as a forum for ongoing improvements to the standard. For information or to order, visit www.goldstone.co.uk.


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